A new hotel development for Ballycastle will not have to go through a full planning process again after the applicant had been granted approval for a one hundred bedroom hotel at Whitepark Road in the town, it has been revealed.
Confirmation came in the form of a letter to Moyle Independent Councillor Padraig McShane who wrote to the Minister of the Environment objecting to a call from the local planning office who insisted on a complete new planning process following the need to alter the plans to include a further sixteen bedrooms.
Minister Attwood agreed with the Councillor’s objection stating; “I acknowledge the site has the benefit of a live planning approval and accordingly do not consider the alterations to the proposed scheme to be material within the overall scheme”.
He continued: “The submission of a formal planning application is therefore not necessary”.
Welcoming the Minister’s input Councillor Padraig McShane said;
“Time is of the essence and I welcome the intervention of the Minister following my letter. The entire project is with Invest N.I. who has before them a comprehensive and extensive Business case for several months now. Invest N.I. must match their past affirmation to support the Tourist sector. A commitment to job creation in the Ballycastle area was a past promise by the body who offered no other major source of employment to the area. If the private sector is showing major commitment, then Invest N.I. must be prepared to match it”.
When asked for more details on job creation Councillor McShane stated;
“To service a hotel of this size will require a minimum staff compliment of Ninety people. In addition the hard pressed building sector could see many local jobs created for the duration of the construction phase.
“But it is the by-product of having both the Marine Hotel and the Whitepark Hotel in operation that will have a major effect on the region. If we create a destination from our Natural Tourism product locally, and Ballycastle and the Glens become that destination, not only will other accommodation providers reap significant benefits across the sector the derivative will also be additional jobs.
“If the Marine and Whitepark Hotels were to open tomorrow, an additional 125 wage packets could be generated in the area. Compounding those figures, additional footfall in the locality plus additional spend from visitors creates a superior economy for the region. It is this simple scale of economy that Invest N.I. must be pressed on. The body has ignored the area for too long.”